TECH BYTES: April 09, 2015 – Prison tech, new supercomputer coming to Chicago, Lego Dimensions, and more!

TECH BYTES 20150409: Prison tech, new supercomputer coming to Chicago, Lego Dimensions, and more!


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The next tech boom might take place behind bars. A meeting in San Quentin State Prison back in 2010 has developed into The Last Mile, an intensive tech entrepreneurship program for San Quentin inmates that the founders hope can be a model for prison education. They say the goal is to engage men who are sitting idle for years upon years in California’s oldest prison, and instead help them turn their ideas into reality.


A new supercomputer is headed to the Windy City. The U.S. Department of Energy announced Thursday that it will give Argonne National Laboratory $200 million to make the Chicago-area home to a high-performance supercomputer that is five to seven times faster than current top supercomputers. According to a spokesperson, “The Aurora supercomputer will advance low-carbon energy technologies and our fundamental understanding of the universe.” Aurora should be available for scientific use in 2019.


So is Facebook guilty of invasion of privacy? An Austrian court that was asked to decide on the matter has put a decision on hold as it thinks about it. The Austria Press Agency says the court on Thursday ordered Facebook to give representatives of the plaintiffs translations of documents before the court within three weeks and for the plaintiffs’ lawyers to respond within an additional three weeks. So we’re at least six weeks from any more news on it.–a4c3fecdcb.html


They’re not stopping at Lego movies. The creators of the “Lego” video games are building their own rendition of a toys-to-life franchise. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and TT Games unveiled plans Thursday for “Lego Dimensions,” a game and toy line combining real-world Lego bricks and figures with virtual game worlds depicted on screen. “Lego Dimensions” will click together several Lego-ized versions of entertainment properties, including “The Lord of the Rings,” “Back to the Future,” DC Comics”, and “The Wizard of Oz.” Be looking for the starter pack on September 27th, 2015.



Move over Batman – cybercrime is the new super-criminal. A new group of international cybercrime fighters claimed one of its first kills Thursday, pulling the plug on malicious servers that hijacked at least 12,000 machines, most of them in the United States. The elimination of the Beebone botnet is an early success chalked up by the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce, a coordination body created last year by the FBI, Britain’s National Crime Agency, Europol and a host of other international law enforcement agencies. It’s also an illustration of the lengths many hackers will go to defeat investigators. Beebone’s masters deployed shape-shifting software that updated itself up to 19 times a day. From a techie’s perspective, they made it as difficult as they possibly could for the crime fighters.–europol-cybercrime-602138091f.html